Global Interaction Inc: charity review

A charity review of Global Interaction Inc (GI), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

(To see the situation last year, read this review.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • GI do not invite feedback or complaints.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. They…XXXX [Last year: “We therefore (sic) unwilling to participate in your “review”]

Is GI registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • The directors are also the directors of the charity Service Fellowship International Inc. (SFI). That charity controls another, S F I Overseas Aid Fund  (SFIOAF).
    • Both SFI’s and GI’s names are on the building at the SFI ACNC address, and GI’s Andrew Streets is the contact for SFI and SFIOAF.
    • But the only reference to SFI on the GI website is in their ‘Introduction to Global Interaction’ document:

    • And this is the closest to an explanation of the relationship in the GI Financial Report 2016:

    • Which charity controls which? Either way, it has not affected the reporting to ACNC (a ‘reporting group’[1]), or the compilation of financial statements (‘consolidation’). Why not?
  • GI is a South Australian incorporated association (A361).
  • GI operates – per the ACNC Register – all over Australia. It conducts fundraising campaigns, plus seeks donations on the internet. But it still, without explanation, doesn’t have any fundraising licences.
  • Its head office is in Victoria (and it has offices in four other states), but it still doesn’t have the registration to carry on business interstate (an ARBN).
  • It is using the name Global Interaction, but this is still not registered.

What do they do?

Does GI share the Gospel?[2]

  • Via their ‘workers’, yes.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Cross-cultural missions’, then it cost $2.57 m to deliver $2.55 m. That’s 50% of expenses consumed for ‘administration’. Last year it was 57%.

Do they pay their board members?

  • There nothing stopping this in the constitution.
  • It is not possible to tell from what GI have published whether they have taken advantage of this ability.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • The ABN register says no.
    • This is contradicted in the ‘Give’ section of the website. In the FAQs it says

        • There is no explanation on the website for how this is possible.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is still not mentioned on the first two pages of the donation process. By then you have passed ‘Check Out’.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end, two week later than last year).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now over 13 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No
    • ‘Donations and bequests’ and ‘Employee expenses’ do not match the accounts.
    • No outcomes are given. (And one short sentence for ‘activities’ is not very helpful.)
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • The directors, with the agreement of the auditor, have elected to prepare special purpose rather than general purpose financial statements. This choice, a choice that means that not all the Accounting Standards have to be followed, is only correct if no user, present or prospective, is dependent on standard financial statements to make decisions. For an organisation that operates all over Australia, collected $3.31 m in donations, had 78 staff and 59 ‘cross-cultural workers’, and calls for donations on its website, this is implausible .
      • The directors still don’t give a reason for their choice.
    • The relationship to SFI is (still) not disclosed.
      • It was strong enough for GI to forgive a $563K loan to SFI the year before last.
      • The same directors serve on both boards. Who controls whom, or are both controlled by the same organisation, the Baptist denomination?
        • The question of consolidation is not addressed. In either company’s accounts.
    • There is no explanation of the relationship between the ‘workers’ and GI.
    • The ‘Management fee’, $1.24 m this year, continues to be unexplained.
    • Without explanation, last year’s fee has been decreased $349K and ‘Cross-cultural missions’ increased by the same amount.
    • If donations are recognised on receipt (Note 1.e), why are cash donations again greater, and significantly greater, than donations revenue?

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The surplus/deficit as a percentage of revenue was decreased from minus 11% (or 12% before the figures were changed – see above) to 3%.
  • No obvious concerns with the financial structure.
    • The holding of ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ has increased dramatically. Together with ‘Financial assets’, it is now over ten months’ of donations.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Jeffrey Tulk for Saward Dawson, gave a ‘clean’ opinion. But before you conclude how much comfort to take from this,
    • be aware that, in continuing with the engagement, he again implicitly agreed with the directors’ decision to produce special purpose rather than general purpose financial statements (see above).
    • read again the section above, ‘Financial Report 2016’, and
    • read about audit opinions here and here.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete/correct?

  • Almost – ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank. (But these are not compulsory.)

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • The choices via the tiles:
    • ‘Where most needed’
      • ‘Not tax deductible’
      • ‘Tax deductible’
    • ‘Cross-cultural worker’
      • Choice of 59
    • ‘People Group’
      • Choice of nine
    • ‘Project’
      • Choice of 88
  • An extra choice via the menu:
    • ‘Special Appeal’ leads to a dead page.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • There is no information on this in the Financial Report 2016.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Those shown here on the website.
  • Which, with a swop of Trevor Harvey for Heather Coleman, is the same as those shown on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
  • There are 13 charities with a John Peberdy as a board member. He is a full-time director of organisations, so he may have one or more non-charity not-for-profits plus businesses in his portfolio. How many board roles is reasonable for somebody like this before it is legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened?
  • GI is an ‘affiliated body’ of the Baptist Union of Australia (Australian Baptist Ministries). Although, as an affiliate, GI has its own board, the members are appointed by Union organisations.
  • As is usual in an association, the board is responsible to the members. But in GI’s case, they are the same set of people. So there’s no accountability there.

To whom are GI accountable?

  • These logos appear at the end of the page ‘The management of Global Interaction’:

  • As a registered charity, GI has obligations to the ACNC. The first logo above is the ACNC’s ‘charity tick’. Apart from saying that GI is registered with them, the ‘tick’ also means that GI’s AIS is not overdue, and the ACNC has not taken any compliance action against it.
  • The second membership can be seen here.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section ‘Activities’ in this review.
  • The last logo belongs to Fundraising Institute Australia. There is still no membership shown in GI’s name.
  • GI is also accountable, as an association, to the South Australian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  1. SFI and SFIOAF are the members of an ACNC reporting group, but without GI. GI has not formed a group.
  2. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.

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